Recipes and facts – Beetroot

Beetroot is a root vegetable packed with essential nutrients. They are a great source of fibre, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C.

Beetroots and beetroot juice have been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increased exercise performance.

Many of these benefits are due to their high content of inorganic nitrates.

Beetroots are delicious raw but more frequently cooked or pickled. Their leaves — known as beet greens — can also be eaten.

Recipes

Beetroot with cream cheese and herbs

Beetroot and walnut salad

Beetroot and Ginger Cake

Beetroot brownies

Beetroot with cream cheese and herbs

Adapted from a recipe in Leith’s Vegetarian Bible

  • 1 tbsp vinegar – cider or raspberry
  • small clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 bunch beetroot cooked and diced or sliced
  • 4oz cream cheese (use low fat if you need to)
  • grated zest of a lime or lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint
  • 5 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives

Mix together the vinegar, 4 tbsp of the oil, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.

Add to the beetroot in a bowl and leave to marinate for 1-2 hours.

Mix cream cheese, yogurt, citrus zest and juice, chives, mint and remaining oil.

Season with salt and pepper.

Put neat spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture on a plate and surround it with the beetroot.

If beetroot are large, cut them in slices and arrange around the plate.

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Beetroot and walnut salad

  • 1 bunch beetroot, cooked
  • 50g walnut halves, roughly chopped
  • 200g Feta cheese – you could also use blue cheese or Cheshire cheese – or no cheese!

For the dressing:

  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

  • lettuce or other salad leaves
  • chopped herbs if you have them – chives, dill or mint

Cut the beetroot into quarters.

Whisk together the honey, lemon juice and walnut oil.

Season to taste.

Toss the warm beetroot in half the dressing.

Add the chopped herbs.

Mix the feta and walnuts with the rest of the dressing.

Put the salad leaves on four plates, add the dressed beetroot, feta and walnuts and serve immediately with the remaining vinaigrette.

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Beetroot and Ginger Cake

For the beet and ginger cake

  • 100g finely chopped stem ginger
  • 200g plain flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 250g grated fresh, raw beetroots (peeled)
  • finely grated zest of one orange
  • 75g walnuts halves
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 60g sour cream
  • 125ml sunflower oil
  • 1 (1500mg) vitamin C tablet, crushed to a fine powder (optional)

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 150g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 60g icing sugar, sifted
  • 70ml double cream
  • 20ml syrup from the stem ginger jar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/160 Fan/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin and set aside.

Spread the walnuts out on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and chop into 1cm pieces, then set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 195/175 Fan/Gas Mark 5.

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine and aerate. Add the beetroot, orange zest, walnuts and stem ginger, but do not stir.

Place the eggs and soured cream in another small bowl and whisk to combine. Add the oil and crushed vitamin C tablet, if using, and whisk again. Pour over the beetroot and flour mix and, using your hands or a large spatula, mix thoroughly to combine.

Pour the mix into the cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 50-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside for 30 minutes before removing from the tin and setting aside on a wire rack until completely cool

To make the icing, place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place and beat for about 10 seconds, until smooth (the amount of time it takes to become smooth will vary depending on the consistency of the cream cheese). Add the icing sugar and beat until well incorporated. Add the cream and beat for about 1 minute, until the icing is thick and smooth. Add the syrup from the stem ginger jar, beat for a final few seconds, then use a palette knife to spread over the top of the cake, and serve.

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Beetroot Brownies – From the BBC Good Food Website

  • 500g whole raw beetroot (3-4 medium beets)
  • 100g unsalted butter, plus extra for the tin
  • 200g bar plain chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder

Wear a pair of rubber gloves to stop your hands from staining, then top, tail and peel the beetroot – you’ll need about 400g flesh. Roughly chop and put into a large bowl. Add a splash of water, cover with cling film, then microwave on High for 12 mins or until tender.

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. While the beetroot cooks, butter then line a 20 x 30cm traybake or small roasting tin. Roughly chop the chocolate and cut the butter into cubes. Tip the cooked beetroot into a sieve, drain off any excess liquid, then put into a food processor or blender with the chocolate, butter and vanilla. Whizz until the mix is as smooth as you can get it. The chocolate and butter will melt as you do this.

Put the sugar and eggs into a large bowl, then beat using an electric hand whisk until thick, pale and foamy, about 2 mins. Spoon the beetroot mix into the bowl (it won’t look too pretty at this stage, but bear with me), then use a large metal spoon to fold it into the whisked eggs. Try to conserve as much air in the mixture as you can. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, then gently fold these in to make a smooth batter.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 25 mins or until risen all over, with just the merest quiver under the centre of the crust when you shake the pan. Cool completely in the tin, then cut into squares.

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